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Thread: Advice on a Mandola?

  1. #1

    Default Advice on a Mandola?

    Greetings! I have been kicking around the idea of getting a mandola for a while now, and i think I'm going to take it. Now I have been looking at getting the Eastman Mandola mda315 since I've heard good things about it, but frankly I wasn't the most sold on the feel of Eastman Mandolins and Octave Mandolins I've played in the past. I've been playing mandolin for about 6 years now and I just love the deeper tone of a mandola just not as deep as an Octave. Does anyone have any advice on getting a mandola, any good builders or models (preferably under $1000) that'd you'd recommend, or just any advice in general about mandolas?

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    If you want a carved-top F-style mandola there is really no alternative in your price range to the Eastman 315, which represent outstanding value for money. If you are happy with a flat-top mandola there is more choice, such as Trinity College and Ashbury, but many top mandolin makers don't bother offering mandolas because of low demand. This means there is a low supply of second-hand mandolas also. I was lucky and imported a used Girouard carved-top model. You could wait a long time to spot a used carved-top for sale and you will be lucky to get one within your price range. If I were you I would get a new Eastman. You might find you fall in love with it and if you want to trade up you will not lose much money on it.
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
    Mandos: Gibson A2, Mike Black A4, Taran Springwell, Shippey Rosewood; TM and OM by J E Dallas (London) & Davidson.

  3. #3
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    I previously owned a Trinity College Mandola that now resides with our youngest son. I liked it quite alot and sometimes wish I hadn't given it up. It gave my Weber a good run and for less than half the cost was a lot of mandola for the money.
    The Eastmans may be more available and sometimes show up used here in the classifieds. I have previously owned two Eastman mandolins and found them to provide a decent bang for the buck.
    I sometimes see vintage mandolas in your price range here in the classifieds but would assume they would not come without issues.

    I found a mandola makes a good addition to my arsenal of instruments.
    I also found that I prefer oval hole mandolas vs. f hole mandolins. The mandolas don't need the extra volume and projection of a mandolin and I think the oval hole softens the tone and adds sustain. Just my humble opinion.

    Good luck
    Stiver A style (MAS has stopped here)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)
    Harley Benton A style (grandchildren's learner)

  4. #4
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    OK who sells a quality mandola case! It seems that these things are very elusive! I seen on Amazon they had one but for an Octave Mandolin? I need a nice modern one for a 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute that was turned into a Mandola? Any help would be great!

  5. #5
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    OK who sells a quality mandola case! It seems that these things are very elusive! I seen on Amazon they had one but for an Octave Mandolin? I need a nice modern one for a 1924 Gibson Tenor Lute that was turned into a Mandola? Any help would be great!
    As you know mandola cases are rarer than mandolas. I placed a wanted ad here in the classifieds and came up with a very nice Collings mandola case for my Coleman. It didn't come cheap. Supply and demand!
    I had previously tried buying one directly from both Collings and Weber. Neither were selling. Not sure why as to my way of thinking they could always buy more cases than mandolas they were building. But, perhaps, there was a hidden reason I could not be aware of.
    Stiver A style (MAS has stopped here)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)
    Harley Benton A style (grandchildren's learner)

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  7. #6
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    Yep mandola cases are difficult to find. I get mine from Cedar Creek custom shop. Perfect fit every time, but not cheap. I can do a flat top mandola for around $1000 USD but then you need to add on the cost of the case so goes over the budget.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  8. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    There is this used Weber Hyalite on Reverb for just a bit above your stated price range...

    https://reverb.com/item/35501448-web...RoCYiwQAvD_BwE

    NFI
    Last edited by Charles E.; Sep-01-2020 at 7:40pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  9. #8

    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    I have a 2-year-old Eastman Mandola in my shop for a setup and I put it up against a Weber hyalite Mandola that I just got in. There is no comparison in tone. Admittedly the Eastman hasn't been played much and it's been sitting in its case for a while and the Weber hyalite has been extensively played going by the wear on the top and the frets.

    I agree with the other comment that you don't need an F style when it comes to Mandola because you're not chasing volume, you're chasing that deeper tone.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    Thanks everyone on the advice! It gives me more things to think about; I think for the moment I'll go with the eastman and see if I truly love the feel of a mandola and if so, upgrade. Otherwise I'd think I'd rather upgrade my mandolin if we're talking multiple thousands range...

  11. #10

    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    You could try an Eastman dealer for case.

    As for getting a mandola I've lost count of the number of people who buy one and it never gets played. May be an idea to take a cheap mandolin, get rid of the E strings, put the G<D and A all one up to be 3rd, 2nd and 1st and get a thick low string and tune it to C for the bottom.

    Play that for a while to see if a mandola is going to be used before buying an expensive one. Yes you won't get the actual mandola sound but it may define whether or not the mandola will ever be used.

    Just a thought from someone who has had the mandola thought a couple of times, acted upon it and then realised I was never going to play it and had difficulty selling it. I did have a very good Eastman. I also had four Sunburst 16" scale ones custom made in China and they were brilliant. I ended up selling them all.

  12. #11
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Advice on a Mandola?

    I had an Eastman Mandola.....didn't bond with it in any way so it went away. Too "celtic" sounding to my ear....and that is being kind. If you can get one of Coombes mandolas for 1k.....even without a case. That sounds like a real deal!

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